FOR most toddlers, a birthday celebration usually means cake, presents and being surrounded by adoring family members.
But for one family, having the opportunity to celebrate at home with their son is a particularly special occasion.
Brave tot Lyle Cornet resumed his fight against an incurable brain tumour after returning to hospital for a third round of treatment to help halt the progress of his condition last Thursday, just over a week before his big day this Saturday.
And mum Lyndsey says she is desperate for son Lyle to celebrate his third birthday surrounded by friends and family at their home in Loanhead, provided the courageous tot is deemed well enough by doctors.
Lyle – grandson of former Scotland and British Lions rugby star Bruce Hay – was diagnosed with an inoperable brain tumour in February 2016 when he was just a year old and has already been through two separate courses of gruelling chemotherapy.
Doctors initially halted Lyle’s treatment in May last year, deciding instead to carry out a biopsy to examine his tumours, however a deterioration in his condition over Christmas forced medics to bring this latest course of much stronger treatment forward.
But Lyndsey, 25, is hoping to host an “open house” for the courageous toddler to allow them to “make memories” together as a family alongside dad Tjay and brother Chris, four.
She said: “Obviously it is all dependent on his treatment, but if we can get him home for those few days, it will allow us to make memories as a family.
“His condition has deteriorated a lot since Christmas, he is much more likely to get an infection, so it is really all dependent on what the doctors think.”
She added: “We just want to keep going and be able to make as many memories together as we can.”
Doctors removed nine samples of the tumour from Lyle’s brain for examination as part of the biopsy procedure carried out in June last year, leaving Lyle “life limited”.
Older brother Chris had a benign tumour removed in 2015, while grandfather Bruce – who played 23 rugby internationals for Scotland between 1975 and 1982 – died of a brain tumour aged 57 in 2007.
And Lyndsey revealed she understands that any time the family can spend together is “precious,” adding she was thankful to get the toddler home from the Royal Hospital for Sick Children over the Easter Weekend.
She said: “We were out at the Rachel House Hospice in Kinross for a wee Easter egg hunt and he absolutely loved it, so that was a really good day for him.
“Obviously, he gets tired quite easily and we did a lot yesterday so he has been sleeping virtually all the last two days, but we are really hoping to get him back to the house for his birthday on Saturday.”
Lynsey added: “It’s just a real opportunity for us and for everyone else to come and help us make memories as a family. We have made so many friends on this journey and we want them to be a part of it.”
The family launched an appeal for help last year during a campaign to fund an extension to their house in Loanhead – including a specially designed bedroom and wetroom – that would allow Lyle to spend more time at home.
It was estimated the work would cost upwards of £60,000, but fundraisers smashed that initial target, thanks to a variety of challenges – including a charity touch rugby match in memory of his grandfather – allowing the project to get underway in October.
However the fundraising effort also received a helping hand from two international stars in the world of boxing.
Former world heavyweight champion Tyson Fury made a cash donation to the campaign and recorded a video message for the tot, while reigning world middleweight champion Billy Joe Saunders also sent a message of support and pledged to send a pair of signed gloves to auction off.
Lyndsey described the outpouring of support for Lyle’s fight as “nothing short of incredible,” adding: “We have been so privileged to have so much love from people we know, from people we don’t know, we have made friends for life because of their love and generosity.”
The family have kept supporters up to date with Lyle’s progress on social media, regularly updating the #TeamLyle Facebook page with pictures and messages from the brave toddler.
The page includes thousands of messages of support and has almost 10,000 followers from across the country, while the justgiving page set up to help fund the extension received heartfelt donations from as far afield as Ireland and Canada.
Posting over the weekend, Lyndsey shared an image of a smiling Lyle enjoying time with family over Easter, adding: “Lyle is been very tired today but he is such a happy wee boy. He’s such a fighter, I’m so proud of him.”
Going forward, Lyndsey told the Evening News they are preparing to celebrate Lyle’s birthday in style.
She added: “Nobody should have to go through this, but at the moment we are just focussed on spending as much time with Lyle as we can and making memories together as a family.”